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Thwarting the Grinch: How to Prevent Package Thefts this Season

Police offer suggestions on how to keep thieves from "front porch shopping" at your home this holiday season.

Tips on preventing package theft.|Photo credit: Patch file
Tips on preventing package theft.|Photo credit: Patch file
The King of Sinful Sots may be little more than a children's holiday story, but after a real, live Grinch was spied plucking packages from porches in Hanover last week, precautions may be in order. 

The crime is commonly know as "front porch shopping," where thieves follow delivery trucks and steal recently delivered packages from porches. Anne Arundel County police have issued the following tips and guidelines to ensure your packages are gifted to the intended recipients: 
  • Arrange for a neighbor to take delivery 
  • Contact shippers and have the package rerouted to a place of trust 
  • Demand signature proof of delivery 
  • Have Fedex and UPS packages sent directly to one of their local stores or distribution centers to be held for pickup 
  • Have the package delivered to your workplace
  • Keep your number and closely follow the progress of your package on-line 
  • If you see any activity that would suggest someone is following one of the delivery trucks or you see someone remove a delivered package, immediately call 911 
  • Take all outgoing mail to the post office, do not leave in your mailbox for pickup 
Police have also increased their presence at shopping malls, deploying bike patrols in addition to the department's regular holiday patrols, to further deter thefts. Police also offer these safety tips to shoppers:

  • Keep keys in hand when walking out to your car 
  • Park vehicles as close as possible to street lights 
  • Take advantage of mall escort services to your vehicle 
  • Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity as criminals may attempt to distract you in an attempt to take your money or belongings 
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of money and keep your wallet or money in your front pockets 
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times 
  • Store all merchandise in vehicles out of view, preferably in a secure place such as the trunk of your vehicle 
  • It is strongly encouraged to keep devices such as portable GPS units, laptop computers and MP3 listening devices out of view 
  • Record serial numbers off of items or take pictures of serial numbers and items in the event your belongings are lost or stolen 

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